The race jargon

  • Prize money : amount, distributed among the 5 first to arrive.
  • Gaits : motion of the horse ( walk, trot, canter (or gallop),…).
  • Amateur : non-professional driver, authorized to participate in races, restricted for amateurs
  • Harness : the gear used to attach a sulky at the back of a horse.
  • Mobile start : start of a trotting race from behind a vehicle, equipped with mobile starting gates.
  • Silks : shirts in the colours of a stable owner, worn by jockeys to identify the owner.
  • Stewards : persons responsible for the judgement, the regularities and ensuring adherence to the rules of racing.
  • Conditions of a race : conditions to fulfil before participating at a race. They depend on the type of race, the age, sex, bets, …
  • Rope : climbing, steady or mobile, defining the track
  • Rating (probable ratio) : expected payoffs from a 1-euro bet for a horse based on the total of bets that horse has gathered for a race.  
  • Colours : colours of owners, regardless the jockey or the horse.  
  • Breaking : period of training and learning of a horse
  • Breaking stride or break : a horse that is off its trotting or pacing gait and resorts to galloping in stead  
  • Stabled: means that several horses owned by the same owner or defendant are put in the same race
  • Elastic band : starting method used for some trotting races
  • Nominations : horses that have been entered for a race.
  • Inquiry : done by stewards after the finish, when they think some rules have been broken during the race.
  • Handicap : the chances for each participant in a gallop race are « uniformed » by an expert, who adds an additional weight to a horse. This expert, called handicapper, bases his work on several standards, such as the horse’s condition, its last performances, … In trotting, the handicap consists in adding a distance to run (25, 50m).   
  • Gelding : castrated horse.
  • Lad : the horse foster who takes care of the horse and its stable throughout the day and who rides it during the training.
  • Non-runner or non-starter : horse, engaged in a race but that has been withdrawn for several possible reasons.
  • Weight in/out : weighting the saddle, the saddle pad, the girth and the jockey before and after the race. This allows checking the application of the handicaps (see above for handicap in gallop races) and the ballast.
  • Photo finish : picture made at the finish line allowing to decide which horse has won in a close finish.
  • Ranked : a horse that arrives among the 3 first ones in a race
  • Claiming race : a race where the horses are exceptionally sold after the finish.
  • Front :in trotting races, means the mark with an additional distance to run for some horses, according to what that horse already won before.
  • Kilometre rate : the approximate time a horse runs to cover a distance of 1 km.  
  • Refund : the stakes on a horse will be refunded when it has been withdrawn at the last minute before a race.
  • Relegation : putting a horse at a later finishing position, if the stewards believe it obstructed another horse in a race.
  • Stud-Book : register where all the horses of a same race are registered. 


Grand Prix de la Toussaint Grand Prix de la Toussaint Grand Prix de la Toussaint Grand Prix de la Toussaint Grand Prix de la Toussaint Grand Prix de la Toussaint Grand Prix de la Toussaint


"I had the opportunity to take part in a double-sulky race on November 16, 2013 and I haven’t regretted it. On the contrary, it is my opinion that, although I have many 'equestrian' memories, this race is the best so far ... This might also be because I had the chance to cross the finish line first. But it's not the only reason! As a 'passenger', we have the opportunity to live the race intensely, from the inside, to understand the little details, feel the tension, but also the effort provided by the horses, and the drivers' focus. Then, there's this unbelievable adrenalin rush as we enter the home straight. The suspense during the last meters. And the joy when we reach the end. An experience to live and relive ... even without a win!"

Christian Simonart

Hoofdredacteur - l'Equimag

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Mesdames et Messieurs,